Sunday, February 28, 2016

Feb 28: 6.37

I was delighted to find my steam had returned today, and it took me around Reed to the tune of 6.37 miles.  This was the best mileage of the month, and a low best mileage it was, too, but under the circumstances I'm pretty pleased with it.
  • I got my 20 mile week.
  • It's the best February ever -- at 69.07, I'm a half mile over the previous record.  And, there's still a day left, of course.
  • February went from having the 12th-best 28th to the 6th-best.  That was kind of fun.
My Avatar took a wrong turn south of Jefferson City, and will have to loop back west a bit to get to a bridge over the Osage River.

Audio: Yesterday I wrapped up with Crashed, and started in with Emma.  I like running with the nineteeth century authors.  

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Feb 27: 2.24

I ran 2.24 miles and ran out of steam -- a new worst run of 2016 in both senses! The Avatar made it to Carol and Chestnut, in Jefferson City.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Feb 25: 2.58

Did a quick loop around Marsha and Charlie's place.  Four straight days of nightrunning!

My Avatar is at the Missouri State Capital building!  Got a new county too.

Audio: Crashed.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Feb 24: 2.27

Two laps around the park ties the "worst day of the year," but gets me some exercise.  These little runs have me up to almost 9 miles for the week, and I'm only 11 miles out from the "Best February" goal with 3 weekdays and a weekend still on the board.

The Avatar pulled off of the Katy Trail and onto a spur leading towards the bridge to Jefferson City, which is the capital of Missouri if memory serves.

Audio: Crashed.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Feb 23: 3.58

I ran three laps around the park tonight, and gave February its only cumulative best!  Very exciting, I'm sure.

My Avatar continued down the Katy Trail, crossing into Calloway County.

Audio: Crashed, by Timothy Hallinan.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Feb 22: 3.01

Back in Portland, I ran my standard graveyard loop for about three miles.  There was hardly any statistical significance at all, which is weird enough to be almost statistically significant.

It looks like I have motivation to "run for February" for almost every remaining day of the month.  Tomorrow is the only chance February has to have a "First-place" date among the months, so it's tempting to grab that, even knowing it wouldn't last.  After that, we've got:
  • 24th: Worst 24th, sub-ten cumulative mileage.
  • 25th: Worst 25th, sub-five cumulative mileage, sub-five record.
  • 26th: Worst 26th, sub-five cumulative mileage, sub-five record.
  • 28th: Worst 28th, sub-ten cumulative mileage, sub-five record.
  • 29th: No running history.
And, the weather forecast is fairly encouraging.  And, I only need 17 miles to get to the Best Ever February, woo woo!

Counterbalancing that, I had a bit of a scrape last night and will be taking antibiotics all week, and still don't feel 100% over that February bug.   We shall see.

In Missouri, The Avatar continued south along the Katy Trail.

Audio: I finished The Goldfinch while I was doing my data entry.  There will finally be something else in the "Audio" department of this blog!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Feb 20: 4.06, also in Arizona

4.06 miles is, obviously, an all time record for Arizona!

The route was more or less the same as yesterdays, as was what The Avatar did and as was the Audio.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Feb 19: 3.75, in Arizona!

After four days off -- still kind of sick, and then traveling as well -- I put in a very pleasant night run in what was essentially a summer night here in Tucson.  From our hotel, I ran down the extend-o-quad of the University of Arizona campus, then turned around and came back.  This city is really dark at night!  But, it also seemed quieter than you'd expect, and there wasn't much traffic to dodge.

3.75 is, trivially, the best Friday so far this year.  Much more "importantly," it is my first run in Arizona, which becomes the 21st state that I have run in.

My Avatar ran down the Katy Trail, in Missouri.

Audio: The Goldfinch continues.  There was some expository dialog, and then the characters slept, and then they met the next morning for some more expository dialog.  That was, like, 35 minutes of text.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Feb 14: 6.29

Still pushing the even-though-I'm-sick-I'll-run concept, I did the Reed loop today to tack on 6.29. This gave me a whole parade of achievements. If this was all a computer game, there would have been all sorts of colorful bubbles with numbers in them popping out of the top of my head. Here goes: 
  • All-time record for Feb 14!
  • Best run of February 2016 so far.  I've been doing lots of short runs.
  • Nine days in a row, which I think is the most since May 2012. 
  • First seven-day week (Monday through Friday) since the last week of 2012.   
  • Best week of 2016 (25.91)
 The month is looking pretty good too.  Here are the Februaries:
  • 2014: 68.57
  • 2012: 68.3
  • 2015: 43.14
  • 2016: 41.29
  • 2011: 35.43
  • 2013: 30.38
  • 2010: 1
Hardly need point out that there is still a fair amount of clock left on this February.

Meanwhile, about the goals I set for early-mid February back on the 6th, here's the before and after.  I'll let 'em speak for themselves, even if it's in a language only I can understand.


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Feb 13: 4.22!

Feeling less energetic today, I put on a simple 4.22 miles (via the graveyard and Patrick and Meaghan's place) to eliminate one of the three remaining zero-mile days!  Very exciting of course.  Of course, it also picked off one of the 18 remaining sub-four record days.  Feb 13th does, however, remain the 12th-best (ie. the worst) Thirteenth in cumulative mileage.

The two remaining zero-mile days, February 29 and my wife's birthday, both have excellent excuses.

Eight consecutive days running, and in February to boot, and while sick, to boot!  I'm feeling far more impressed with myself than an objective observer would think reasonable!

In Missouri, My Avatar ran through the awful McMansion fields south of Columbia on Missouri N.

Audio: All Goldfinch, all the time.  It's not awful, but there's a lot of it, and I'm looking forward to something new, someday.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Feb 12: 3.45

Strangely energetic -- might be coffee-related -- I ran 3.45 miles after work in a nice little sunbreak. It was a pure case of being motivated by numeric minutiae: I knew I would need 3.2 miles to get Feb 12 from the 10th-best Twelfth to the 6th-best Twelfth.

No, really! That was my motivation! Stop looking at me like that!

Incidentally, I always love spelling "twelfth." Don't you?

Also: 
  • Seven days of running in a row!  That's a lot!
  • Best Friday of 2016!  (previous best: 3.44)

The Avatar continued south through suburban Columbia, then on trails in Rock Bridge Memorial State Park.

Audio: Yet more Goldfinch.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Feb 11: 2.27

It's the sixth day in a row running, probably my longest streak in quite some time.  None of them have been long runs, of course, and this one was the shortest, two blocks around the park for 2.27 and a new Worst for 2016!

It is also the fourth consecutive Thursday I have run, which actually is an all-time record.  WOO HOO!  LONGEST STREAK OF THURSDAYS EVER!!!  Congratulate me.

Another oddity: for two days in a row now, I have passed people.  Actually passed people!  And at my age!

My Avatar swung back west and ended up at a KFC at Nifong and Buttonwood, still in Columbia.

Audio: Still with The Goldfinch.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Feb 10: 2.95

Today was one of the last four remaining zero-distance days.  So even a little 2.95 miles is kind of a big achievement, in my world.  Only three more left: this coming Saturday, Feb. 29, and my wife's birthday, in July.

It was also the first and therefore best Wednesday of 2016.  Now I finally have mileage for every day of the week this year.  As usual, the weekend is dominating.

My Avatar ran southeast by the edge of the Mizzou campus and through a nature area on (presumably) nice trails.

Audio: Still The Goldfinch.  Today I started thinking "hmm, are we about ready to wrap this story up?"  When I checked, I saw I was on part 5 of, uh, 32.  I guess we've got a way to go.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Feb 9: 4.41

For feeling kind of sick all day, it was a pretty capital run.  I think it might have been a "thank you, DayQuil" sort of thing.  No particular route, although I ended up on Clinton and 53rd or something.
  • All-time best for Febuary 9!
  • ...which eliminated one of the 19 remaining sub-four days!
  • This was the first, and therefore the best, Tuesday of 2016.
My Avatar reached Shakespeare's Pizza after running around the University of Missouri campus.  That's pretty much been his goal ever since Kansas City, so now he'll have to think up something else.

Audio: More Goldfinch

Monday, February 8, 2016

Feb 8: 2.32

I went a couple of times around the park.  2.32 is the "worst run of the year," so to speak -- the shortest distance covered in a run so far in 2016.  And this can be a thing about obsessing with mileage: it can really discourage you from going on a short run, on days when all you have time or inclination for is a short run.  Fortunately, all I "needed" was a short run today, to get February 8th out of last place among the Eighths.  Now it's the 11th-place 8th.

Right on schedule, I got my mid-February sore throat today.  It's theoretically possible that it will go away and be a memory tomorrow.  That would be nice.  I think it's more likely that it will gradually turn my life into a stuffy tunnel of fatigue for the next two weeks, completely shooting down this whole attempt at rehabilitating February.  Time will tell!

My Avatar is getting closer to the University of Missouri.  He stopped at a coffee shop, which should keep him happy for the night.

Audio: The Goldfinch.  It was admittedly a short run, but it encompassed only a single overwritten episode.

Safety Fail: Running at night, completely forgot to pack anything bright, reflective, or even light-colored.  However, survived.


Sunday, February 7, 2016

Feb 7: 5.17, again

I ran a totally different route from yesterday and ended up with 5.17 miles, again.  That's kind of weird.
  • 5.17 is a record for February 7, yay!
  • I've knocked off the first of my eight-day stretch of cumulative worsts.  (In fact, Feb 7 is now the 7th-place Seventh, which is a humongous leap.  Motivational statistics!)
  • 15.35 for an indifferent week, but not bad for February.
In Missouri, My Avatar ran on local roads into the suburbs of Columbia; he's at Chapel Hill Road at Louisville Drive.

Audio: I finished off the last few minutes of The Prime Minister, and then... didn't listen to anything.  I just thought about stuff.  I hardly ever do that!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Feb 6: 5.17

Five-and-change is fairly modest for a weekend, but since I wedged it in between plumbing repair and people coming over for dinner, I'm pleased with it.  My route was behind the hospital and over the 60th Avenue overpass, and for anyone keeping track my current audiobook is Trollope's The Prime Minister.  I'm in the denouement.

5.17 is the all-time record for February 6 by about .2 mile.  Woo!

With 14.21 cumulative miles, February 6th went from the "9th-best Sixth" to the "6th-best Sixth."  That's all fine and good.  But here is the monthly ranking for the next eight days:




Or, on the graph, the thick light blue line...

...which means I'm entering the part of February in which I've usually been sick in the past, and am more or less honor-bound to try to run as much as I possibly can tomorrow and all of next week.  Unless, of course, I get sick...

My Avatar, out in Missouri, continued down the Katy Trail beneath the Big Manitou Bluffs, and ended up at the Katfish Katy Campgrounds for the night.

The plumbing repair went pretty well, thanks.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

And then there were 19 (sub-four days)

After the bold manifesto of February 1, I took the first three days of the month off. Well, those days didn't need too much work, so to speak.

But today, February 4, with it's measly 2.78 record and 2.78 cumulative mileage, needed to be whipped into shape. So, after work, I set out to run four miles on a loop around Benson High School, which actually turned out to be 5.01 miles. Oops! So, here's the damage:
  • 5.01 is the all-time record for February 4!
  • We've eliminated one of the 20 remaining sub-four days.
  • February 4 has jumped from being the "worst 4th" to the 8th spot.
  • It's the best mileage for a Thursday in 2016 so far.
  • We're already at the 6th best February, having passed February 2010's 1 mile (a time I went out to see if my leg was still injured, and discovered it was).
My Avatar continued on the Katy Trail through a little town, then through a big turn south to cozy up right against the Missouri, eventually passing underneath the I-70 bridges.  He's now in Boone County, his 70th.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Doing My Part for February

February is definitely the cruelest month, at least when it comes to my running.  It is, by a long and cherished tradition, the month when I usually catch some horrible lingering cold and end up missing a lot of days.  Also -- and much less importantly -- it's shorter than other months.


  • My cumulative running mileage for the month of February -- all Februaries -- is 246.82.  By comparison, the "eleventh-best month," April, is at 345.62.  
  • The "Best February Ever," 2014's 68.57 miles, is worse than the median years for April, May, July, October, and November.  
  • Four of the 14 worst months on record are Februaries.
So, it's pretty bad.

What you're seeing on the left are my daily records.  For instance, the "all-time record for February 1," today, is 7.95.  A trained eye (mine and mine alone, that is) can immediately see that the February records are kind of anaemic.  Three of the four remaining "no-record days" are in February (including, it must be admitted, the elusive, hard-to-capture February 29).  Those, plus Feb. 4 & 13, make up five of the 20 remaining "sub-four days."  Obviously, I'll be pretty motivated to get something going on those five days, all of which are for better or worse weekdays.

But the records aren't the half of it.

Over on the right, you're seeing the cumulative mileage per day of the year.  January 1, for instance, is one of the best running days on the calendar (it's #2, to be exact) because it is always a holiday with nothing particular to do, and so I always go running.  Cumulative mileage fir February 1 (2009 to present, as always) is a modest 12.05.

As you look down the February column, you see that most days are steeped in the orange shame of sub-ten mileage, the red-on-yellow humiliation of sub-five mileage, or the lurking red-on-black opprobrium of no mileage at all.

Here's another way of looking at it.  On this graph, each line represents a month.  Left to right is the duration of the month, from the first to the last day; the height represents the cumulative mileage for that day.  The thick light blue line is February.

If you're understanding the graph, you can see right away that February days are among the worst across the board, from the first to the 29th.  And this leads us to the last and strangest way I like to look at daily cumulative mileage.

There it is on the right.  February is the second column, of course, and the rows represent days.  Today, February 1, is the "seventh best" among the 12 first days of the month.  (January 1, for reasons already discussed, is the "best first" by a country mile, or to be more precise by more than eleven country miles.)

LOOK AT ALL OF THOSE RED TWELVES IN FEBRUARY!  Those are all dates of the month that are the worst of their kind: February has the worst 4th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, and so on.  

What's the point?  Part of the point is "it's fun to play with spreadsheets," but more importantly I find all of this weirdly motivating.  For as long as we're in February, I will be trying to get rid of as many of those 12s as I can.  I will need to get out there and run to do my part for February, against the rest of those months.  Obviously there's a lot of work to be done.  

It should come as no surprise that as soon as we get to March, I'll be on March's side, trying to bury February whenever possible for the greater glory of March, right?  

In the meantime, I will hopefully get out and run quite a lot this month.  Ideally, I'll enjoy it, and it will make me healthier, stronger, and happier.  All of those things would be great side-effects of improving February's standings in the spreadsheets.